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So You Messed Up Your Jack’O’Lantern – Now What?

Picture this: You and the family recently went to Bengston’s Pumpkin Fest, the best pumpkin patch in Illinois. You spent hours walking around trying to find the perfect pumpkins. Even though you sternly told Little Sally and Little Billy that they can only get a pumpkin that they can carry themselves in an effort to teach self-reliance, after looking into their little eyes you huffed and puffed as you carried the two biggest pumpkins you could muster to the car. You set aside an entire Saturday afternoon to sit on the porch and carve spooky jack-o-lanterns.

You cut a hole in the top just like our “How To Carve A Pumpkin” Guide taught you, you’ve scooped out all of the guts, and even set aside the seeds to roast later. Just as you go to cut the last spooky tooth in Little Billy’s pumpkin, disaster strikes. The knife slips and you make a clean cut through the nose, into the eye, and leave Billy’s jack-o-lantern missing half his face.

Billy’s face crumbles (not unlike the face of his now hideous jack-o-lantern), and you are waiting for that earth-shattering banshee scream to tear out of his tiny, distraught lungs. But wait! Thankfully, you have already read this handy guide on how to fix a broken jack-o-lantern, and no, it is not with a “pumpkin patch.” Quickly, you tell Billy not to worry, because you know how to make the jack-o-lantern as good as new.

Continue reading to learn how to fix some common problems that even veteran pumpkin carvers experience.

Problem: You Accidentally Carved The “Ugly” Side

Even the best pumpkin carvers have done this before. Most pumpkins have a flat, discolored, or barnacle-y side, it’s just nature. If you get halfway through carving and realize that your beautiful orange pumpkin looks a little pale and lumpy, just keep going. Do not attempt to switch gears and carve the “good side” unless you want a jack-o-lantern that you can see all the way through. Once the candle is in, you won’t even be able to tell. Which reminds us…

Problem: Your Candle Keeps Going Out

Fire needs oxygen to burn. If your candle won’t stay lit, you probably need more airflow to allow fresh oxygen inside the pumpkin to keep the candle burning. Ensure that you have an adequate “chimney” cut in the top of the pumpkin to allow the flame to breathe. If the flame still won’t stay lit, make sure the jack-o-lantern’s face is facing away from the wind.

Problem: There Is No Light Coming Through

So you finished carving the pumpkin, placed a tealight inside with an adequate chimney and put the spectacle on the porch. You switch off the porch light to marvel at your artistry and… nothing happens. There’s no spooky face, there’s not even light shining through. What happened?

Most likely, you tried to do a super detailed cut-out with tiny slits and slashes that are too small for light to come through. To fix this, break out your tiniest carving knife and tune up some edges. Cut at an angle to make sure that the cuts are bigger on the inside of the pumpkin and taper towards the outside surface, like a funnel. This will ensure that the fleshy rind of the pumpkin isn’t blocking out any necessary light.

Problem: Vital Pieces Fell Through

This is the most common tragedy that befalls innocent jack-o-lanterns. Let’s say you are carving a cool skull. You cut out some holes for the eyes, an upside-down-V for the nose, and even cut out some teeth. You go to add the finishing touch – the outline of a skull so everyone knows that this isn’t a regular old jack-o-lantern. Before you know it, you’ve just cut out all the hard work you put in and left yourself with a giant skull-shaped hole with no distinguishing features.

Thankfully, this problem has an easy solution, and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen already. Forget the duct tape and hot glue, as those will be useless to you here. Instead, opt for toothpicks.

Use toothpicks to carefully put Ol’ Jack back together like a piece of IKEA furniture held together by wooden pegs. The more toothpicks you use, the more secure your broken pieces will be. If a few toothpicks end up sticking out of the jack-o-lantern’s face, don’t worry. It will just add to the spook-appeal.

Problem: The Pumpkin Is Rotting And It’s Not Even Halloween Yet!

Well, if you took some time to read our blog post about how to preserve your jack-o-lantern, you wouldn’t be having this problem. But don’t worry, there is still a way to salvage this moldy beast. While you cannot undo any of the damage, you can prevent more damage from happening. First, take a spray bottle and fill it with water and just a little bit of bleach and spray your pumpkin. Alternatively, you can fill a big bucket with water and about three tablespoons of bleach and completely submerge your pumpkin for about two minutes. This will help to kill any fungus or mold.

Then, consider nixing the candle. While a flickering jack-o-lantern is an iconic Halloween porch-staple, the heat from the candle can make it wilt faster. You can always opt for a spooky green glow stick to make a truly unique pumpkin.

Your last option is to just embrace to moldy pumpkin with the idea that maybe a rotting jack-o-lantern is scarier than a fresh one.

One More Option: Get A New Pumpkin At Our Pumpkin Patch Farm

Thankfully for you, Bengston’s Pumpkin Fest and pumpkin patch farm is open until the day before Halloween, so if you need a last-minute pumpkin, we have you covered. Don’t worry typing “pumpkin patch near me” into Google, you already know we are located just outside of Chicago. When you choose Bengston Farms as your pumpkin patch, you get the ultimate fall experience. Stop by soon to try some of our unbeatable carnival food and food truck favorites, and have some spooky fun in the haunted house. With pony rides, a petting zoo, and more, Bengston’s Pumpkin Fest is a can’t-miss fall activity for the entire family!